Rapid core city growth, developing major employment sites with supporting infrastructure and building a skilled workforce are the main drivers behind the strategic economic plan for Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire, the Government’s Minister of State was told this week.
Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Enterprise Partnership board members met with Greg Clark MP as part of his tour of LEPs in the Midlands to challenge them on their economic plans.
Mr Clark said the partnership had a clear vision and strategy with the right focus on infrastructure and skills and added that it should continue to build constructive relationships with neighbouring LEPs and MPs.
LEP chairman Ron Dougan said he was pleased that the partnership was receiving recognition for identifying a clear and ambitious strategy to stimulate the local economy.
Ron added: “We were pleased to be able to discuss our strategic plan with Mr Clark and it was good to receive some constructive feedback. We have been working hard over the last three years with businesses to enable them to expand their operations with hundreds of jobs being created. In addition, through close working with our councils and the Highways Agency we are seeing the delivery of major transport and infrastructure projects which enable business and residential development.”
“We told Mr Clark that while our plan is still work in progress, it identifies our key strengths, notably in sectors such as advanced manufacturing, medical technologies and energy generation. In addition to ongoing business development across our area, including at JCB and Jaguar Land Rover, we will be focusing on more strategic employment sites in 2015/16 such as Meaford, Etruria Valley, the city centre spine and Keele University Science and Business Park.”
“We will further be developing our skills programme and our links with neighbouring LEPs so we are making the best use of resources and are in the strongest position possible going forward.”
Mr Clark visited LEP board members at the county council’s Staffordshire Place following a tour of i54 South Staffordshire.